Small Town * Big Art Shares Overview of Pilot Year, Asks Community Feedback
Small Town * Big Art shared an overview of its pilot year of public arts programming for Wailuku Town and is encouraging the public to provide feedback on its projects to improve next year’s programming.
“ST*BA is a creative placemaking collaboration of County of Maui and Hale Hōʻikeʻike at the Bailey House Museum/ Maui Historical Society that aims to develop Wailuku Town as a public arts district focused on its distinctive sen of place, history and culture.”
Below are ST*BA’s projects that were completed in its pilot year of public arts programming:
Reimagined for a post-COVID community, Maui-based Michael Takemoto’s ʻAlalā Renaissance brought pre-registered, socially-distanced artists together to create hundreds of brightly colored chalk ʻalalā silhouettes throughout town in an expression of hope, rebirth and healing. Performing artists from Wailuku-based arts organizations recited collaborative poems for a video documentary of the artwork that will be shared with the public in early 2021.
Following a pause necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia-based muralist Eric Okdeh created “Ma kāhi o ka hana he ola malaila” (where work is, there is life) at the Main Street Promenade. The artist hosted virtual talk story sessions with dozens of community members, 15 live exhibition days and presented at a blessing ceremony in November.
“Birds of a Feather,” an original play by Maui Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) was seen by thousands of school children throughout Maui before its public, ST*BA performance during Wailuku First Friday. Inspired by ʻōlelo noʻeau: E aloha kekahi i kekahi (love one another), the piece celebrates diversity, inclusion and belonging.
Wailuku artist Sean Baba unveiled his sculpture “Chinese Take Out: Super Size” in collaboration with Au’s Shaolin Arts Society Chinese New Year performance outside of the County Building before installing it at both the Mayor’s Office and the grounds of Hale Hōʻikeʻike at the Bailey House Museum/ Maui Historical Society for extended public access.
Located in Kīpuka Square, the 6-foot reclaimed steel “Hīnaʻi” sculpture by Maui-based Jessica Bodner was inspired by ʻōlelo noʻeau: ‘A‘ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia (No task is too big when done together by all). In a unique collaboration with Boy Scout Troop 40 and local artist Amanda Joy Bowers, a Little Free Library was simultaneously erected at the site with the proverb painted on it. Through site visits with the troop, at her studio and a public unveiling and blessing ceremony, Bodner engaged hundreds of Wailuku residents & visitors.
Pō Meke‘au, a mural at the Omura Building facing Wells Park, was painted by Kirk Kurokawa, Elmer Bio, Amanda Bowers and Noble Richardson. The team hosted school visits, live paint days and presented during a public blessing at the site in December.
The brainchild of Wailuku Coffee Company owner Jackie Goring and Wailuku Artist Tamara Li, First Friday was adorned with festive street decorations, a street procession, as well as participatory art installations and an altar at Kīpuka Square in a festival celebrating Día de los Muertos.
A mural painted at MAPA’s main studio (2027 Main Street) depicting a local fisherman at Waiheʻe Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge. Inspired by ʻōlelo noʻeau: ‘Ike aku, ‘ike mai. Kōkua aku, kōkua mai. Pēlā ka nohona ‘ohana (Watch, observe. Help others and accept help. That is the family way), “Eli” was created by Canada-based artist Emmanuel Jarus, who taught 2 free workshops, hosted live paint days and presented during a public blessing at the site.
A light work installation that reimagined a stained glass window from St. Anthony’s Church through the eyes of the Wailuku River by Maui artist Andy Behrle. Entitled Lost & Found, the piece was unveiled at Wailuku First Friday in Kīpuka Square. Behrle has since relocated to Hawaiʻi Island.
A proof-of-concept collaboration with PangeaSeed Foundation, resulting in 10 Wailuku-based “Mauka to Makai” themed murals: Nāmakaokahaʻi by Lauren Brevner | Native Protector by Joey Rose & Alex Underwood | Untitled by Gregg Kaplan | High Tides/ Low Tides by Kai Kaulukukui | Legacy by Dulk | Kaulana Nā Wai ʻEhā by Cory Kamehanaokalā Taum | Resemble The ‘Alalā by Noble Richardson, Elmer Bio, Amanda Joy Bowers and Kirk Kurokawa | Celestial Guidance by Mary Iverson | Mauka to Makai by Wooden Wave | Navigating our Future by Techs/ Poi.